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Photo: St. John Oxytrope

Oxytropis campestris (L.) DC.

St. John Oxytrope

Habitat: Calcareous rocks and gravels along St. John River. [Non-tidal rivershore (non-forested, seasonally wet)]

Range: Newfoundland to James Bay, south to the St. John River (New Brunswick and Maine), and Levis County, Quebec.

Photo: St. John Oxytrope

Aids to Identification: This small member of the Pea family is indentified by its leaves bearing 7-31 narrow elliptic leaflets, the lack of an above-ground stem (i.e. leaves all in a cluster), and leafless flowering stalks bearing purple flowers in a 2-4 cm long raceme. The mature fruit is a small, pubescent legume.

Ecological characteristics: In Maine, this species is found along the shore of the St. John River.

Photo: St. John Oxytrope

Phenology: Flowers June - July.

Family: Fabaceae

Synonyms: Represented in Maine by the variety johannensis Fern., formerly known as Oxytropis johannensis (Fern.) Heller.

Photo: St. John Oxytrope Leaves

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 6 town(s) in the following county(ies): Aroostook.

Dates of documented observations are: 1893, 1976 (2), 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1991, 1997 (2), 1999 (2)

Reason(s) for rarity: At southern limit of range; habitat naturally scarce.

Photo: St. John Oxytrope Fruit

Conservation considerations: Populations could be threatened by heavy recreational use.

For more information, see the New England Wild Flower Society's Conservation Plan for Oxytropis campestris-pdf link-118 KB.